Country diary: there’s a ruckus in the rookery until school begins


Hungerford, West Berkshire: When the bell goes, and the classrooms fill and fall quiet, the rooks quieten too

The rookery by the old priory seems strangely subdued – until I remember it is a Saturday. Situated where the town gives way to farmland, between the common and the secondary school, it is a circus on school days.

Then, the rooks sway on their piratical tree-top masts, cawing as the tree dips, with a forward bow, as if they were surfing a wave. They cheer me in to work and barrack me out again, just as they do the school buses from the villages and other rookeries.

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